Or say that the end precedes the beginning, And the end and the beginning were always there Before the beginning and after the end. And all is always now. Borrow from Burnt Norton? Sure. Let's. The beginning of the end is when natural wines makes its way into a trend story, no? Or am I just being hyper-emotional? Meningers Wine Business Journal, ever see it? I was at first amused then perplexed at the article by Ned Goodwin on the Japanese craze for 'natural wines.' I cannot get the link to work, so give it a Google on your own please, the actual title is....The Japanese Embrace 'Natural' Wines. "Wine Tokyo, the largest wine fair in the Japanese calendar, was held on 8 April, where distributors purveying extreme styles of minimally sulphured wines, under the vague and frequently misused term “BIO,” drew the most attention from punters, buyers and sommeliers alike. Is this the future of the Japanese market, or merely a passing fad? According to Japan`s most influential wine trade journal, WANDS, sales of ‘natural’ wine have increased dramatically in the last three-years, possibly as much as 25-30%. However, due to the implicit vagaries of the term, it is difficult to come up with exact statistics. After all, is the term an abbreviation for ‘biologique,’ or organic wine? If so, as biodynamically produced wines are inherently organic, the term should encompass this sector of the market also. Moreover, the extreme school, or ‘naturel’ producers eschewing responsible levels of sulphur dioxide, usually farm organically and thus, are part of the sector grouped under the BIO banner. In a recent article in WANDS, Kenichi Hori of the Californian Wine Institute, states that the term BIO is used as a marketing tool. Importers of the extreme school of wine claim that their products, despite obvious faults, are healthy and prevent hangovers. As a result, many producers such as Thierry Puzelat in the Loire, are encouraged to make wine with minimal or no SO2, to be labeled as ‘BIO’ for the Japanese market." Class, look at that last graph and the last sentence. Puzelat is ENCOURAGED? Thierry Puzelat needs no encouragement. Thierry has been on the low sulphur track way before the Japanese 'encouraged' him and his brethren such as Olivier Lemasson of Vins Conts, Herv Souhaut and Dard et Ribo. The reason Thierry, his brother Jean-Marie etal. became rock stars in Japan was because the country discovered their wines where delicious as well as having purity. The wines, as it turned out were unsulphured (or low sulphured.) and then their thirst began and a cult of the wine underground commenced. The writer seemed to have gotten it backwards. But what the writer did get correct was " the term BIO is used as a marketing tool." I have to hop on my bike, get something to drink for Passover (there are no unsulphured kosher wines by the way) clean the apartment and get out of her so long commentary is shelved for next week, but I wanted to continue the nonsequiter…. I was at a little gathering pulled togeter by Byron Bates at the Chelsea Hotel, in the room Syd killed Nancy, something BB called Fte de Puzelat. Thierry had brought along a bottle of his 1996 Buisson, which is sauvignon blanc. He said had been his first attempt at absolutely no sulphur, and made just for home use. It was a twelve-year-old wine with absolutely no oxidation. The wine was fresh and slightly evolved with years to go before it melts. A lyrical and vibrant wine. As the room darkened and Byron lit tea candles Thierry told the trick of making stable wine that reflects terroir without sulphur, and it is that almost old fashioned concept of levage. Tried and true, there are no short cuts. Wine takes time. That sauvignon blanc had been in vat for almost two years before seeing a bottle. Healing from heartbreak and making great wine-- without sulfur, have something in common. They both need time. And taking time is the polar opposite of the immediacy of trend.